The Dare by JA Gill

It was just a dare. That’s kids for you.

Jack would dare me and I’d dare him back. So one Halloween we dared each other to walk through the graveyard at night.

We weren’t supposed to be out after dark, but we went out early saying we’d be back and stayed until the sun had gone down. Then we started to walk through the graveyard.
It was strange and unreal to be in there in the dark. We walk through it on the way to school almost every day, but suddenly it seemed completely unfamiliar. Everything seemed more exaggerated, the gravestones leaning more and more covered in moss, the grass longer and the mist that curled around our ankles thicker than anything we had seen before.

I think we had both intended to wind each other up as we walked, but strange chill fell upon us and we were quiet and cautious. We stayed on the path, but it didn’t seem to be a straight as we remembered in. Eventually we reached the mausoleum, and a little of our confidence returned. This was a very familiar sight. We had chased each other round it on many occasions and we both went straight up to it and put our hands on it. It was cold, but reassuringly solid.

That was when Jack said that the door was open. I went round to where he was standing and he was right. The solid render that covered the bricked up doorway was gone. We were both surprised, but we could both see a dark open archway.

“Put your arm in!” Jack said. “I dare you!”

Hesitantly, I walked up to the doorway and briefly waved my arm in the dark space, which had formerly been solid wall.

“I dare you to put your leg in!” I said to Jack.

Jack stepped up and put one leg in. As soon as his leg touched the other side of the threshold, Jack let out a sharp cry of pain and grabbed my arm. So taken by surprise by this, I nearly leapt out of my skin and I screamed.

Jack’s cry turned to laughter. “Got you, scaredy-cat!” he called.

I pushed him away. “I’m not a scaredy-cat.” I said, and to prove it I stepped all the way through the doorway and turned around.

“See!” I said, and stepped out.

I guess Jack wasn’t about to be out done by me. “That’s nothing!” he said and walked through the door and on into the darkness behind.

Suddenly there was a loud hollow bang, as though an enormous stone had just fallen into place, and the open door was closed. Where, only a few seconds before there had been an open doorway, there was rough weathered cement, covering the bricks that had blocked the mausoleum for years.

I howled, I screamed and I called Jack’s name. I hammered at the wall with my fists, until I drew blood.

Then I turned and ran out of the graveyard, screaming for someone to help me.

The search went on for days, but that was the last anyone saw of Jack…